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An A-Z of how you can help Older People

27th June 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

In 2015, a study by Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness found that over one million elderly people in the UK can go a whole month without speaking to anyone, the result of this study sparked nationwide campaign and the famous John Lewis TV advert and inspired people all over the UK to help combat the fact that many elderly people face the ups and downs of life totally alone.

Here at Handicare we understand that there are so many ways in which you can help elderly people within your family or even your community, the majority of which will take just moments of your time.We have created an A-Z of great ways in which you can help the elderly, including the likes of Casserole Club, Contact The Elderly, The Silver Line and many more fantastic schemes.

A-Z of how you can help older people

Activities

Not only are activities a great method of getting elderly people interacting, it’s been proven that staying active in later years can prolong life and improve general health. Take a look at our interactive guide for the best strength exercises for some ideas on how to maintain body strength.

Getting involved in activities doesn’t need to be a solitary past time. There are volunteer clubs all over the UK, such as the Young at Heart Club in Devon that provide activities and games for older people. There are also specialist activity clubs for those with additional mobility needs, such as the BDAA (British Disabled Angling Association).

Age UK also provide a fantastic resource for special interest groups all over the UK.

Baking

It was probably your grandparents who supervised you whilst baking your first cake, so why not return the favour and give them a fun afternoon?

Casserole Club

A fantastic service which is proving popular across the country, Casserole Club members cook extra portions of their meals to offer to elderly members of the public who are less able to cook for themselves.

Dancing

For many elderly people, dancing can be a long-forgotten passion. Why not ask your loved one or friends if they would be interested in beginning dancing lessons? There is a handy resource at ‘Dance near you’ which provides information on dance classes for all abilities all over the UK.

Contact the Elderly

An initiative which aims to combat isolation, Contact the Elderly offers the chance for over 75s to interact through monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties.

Film Club

Whether it’s a nostalgic classic taking them back to their youth, or perhaps a modern production, films help to evoke memories while also providing a chance to enjoy the experience with others. Check out Odeon’s Silver Cinema.

Gardening

For many, gardening is a very rewarding hobby and it can be very hard for those who can no longer tend to their gardens for health or mobility reasons. The charity website Carry on Gardening has a wealth of knowledge and tips on how to carry on gardening even when your mobility needs change.

Holiday

A great excuse to get the family together as well as the chance to relax or explore, create some long-lasting memories together on a holiday.

Independence

Ensure those with mobility problems can live independently at home through installing an electric home stairlift and other aids.

Journeys

By being a chauffeur for an elderly relative just once a week, you’re offering them a way of making regular journeys and getting them out of the house. For information about disabled and elderly travel in London, be sure to contact Transport for All. Other services include the CVSR Volunteer Driver Service and the Volunteer Car Scheme (Northampton).

Knitting

Another hobby designed to keep both the mind and body active, knitting is a skill which takes time and patience to get right. Why not get involved with the Big Knit? This is a charity initiative from Innocent Smoothies and Age UK to help vulnerable older people. Participants knit tiny hats, and for every smoothie with a tiny knitted hat sold, Innocent give 25 pence to Age UK.

If you are interested in getting your elderly relative or friend into knitting, Knit Together has a fantastic resource of local knitting groups all over the UK.

Living

Ask your relative about their childhood, or any incredible moments from their life. So many people have incredible stories to tell, so why not ask away and see what you will discover? Tips on how to start a memoir can be found at the Write One Blog.

Mind

A specialist charity, Mind offers support and advice for anyone experiencing a mental health problem. If you’re concerned, get in touch.

Nuisance Calls

An issue which effects a large percentage of the elderly, nuisance calls can cause severe aggravation for those living on their own – particularly with calls of a forceful nature. By answering the calls yourself or investigating how to stop these calls, it helps to take the weight off their shoulders and help them enjoy living in their own home.

Follow these helpful guides and save your loved one the worry and inconvenience:

Online

The internet is the way the world communicates nowadays, and helping an elderly relative get online is a great method of stopping them feel isolated. A great example is Brian Pilton, a 75-year-old Twitter addict from Exeter.

For a beginner’s guide, take a look at our quick-start guide to the internet for the elderly. Once they’ve got the basics, why not sign them up to a service such as Skilful Senior? This resource has online tutorials covering everything from emailing grandchildren to getting medical information from the internet.

Pension Help

A pension is put in place to provide retired people with a regular means of funds for their retirement, but it can be a real stress to get your head around. Why not take the stresses of finances away from them by helping out with management of their money? Age UK has a dedicated section on their website to help answer questions regarding money matters.

Quizzes

The Alzheimer's Society has funded researchers at King's College London to find out whether doing regular brain training exercises can help to improve cognitive function in older people. The study found that playing the games can help people aged 60 and above get on better with their daily activities over 6 months. Read more about the extensive study on the official website.  

Clue Detective Puzzle Agency

To get started with quizzes and puzzling, point your elderly loved one in the direction of the fantastic Clue Detective Puzzle Agency, a vast online portal with a wide variety of puzzles and quizzes. Receive 10% discount on any purchase with the code 'SAVVYSENIOR'. 

Radio

The constant voice 24 hours a day, the radio is a simple way of reducing the effect of loneliness, Age UK have their own station: The Wireless. Podcasts are a great alternative to the radio, as you can choose from a huge range of interesting topics. Read our Beginner’s Guide to Podcasts to get started.

The Silver Line

The UK’s only free 24-hour confidential helpline, The Silver Line is the service which offers information, friendship and advice to older people whenever they need it.

Tea

The small act of popping round to someone’s house for a quick cup of tea or coffee can offer emotional support and much-needed sociable interaction. 

Understanding

Take a few moments to fully understand their needs. By doing so you are able to meet their requirements and ultimately help them live happily.

Vitality

Health is always important, whatever your age. By helping your elderly relative employ a balanced diet you can help them be healthier and live their life to the full.

When they Get Older

From advice on health, money, care or other aspects relating to retirement or elderly life, When They Get Older is a great free service that all old people ought to be introduced to.

Xmas

Christmas is the one time of the year that nobody should be lonely, especially not in the case of elderly people. Think about how to make next Christmas great for everyone, and get older people involved with the planning!

You

Remember that you can do this. It’s hard to ask for help sometimes, so be the one to offer help instead of waiting to be asked. If you are already caring for an elderly loved one, you may be looking for some support from likeminded people, and it’s helpful to know that you are not alone. The website My Ageing Parent was set up by Alex and Deborah, who both have first-hand experience in helping their elderly parents live as happily and contentedly as possible. Take a look at the help guides and articles, and join the forum to chat with other individuals in a similar situation: you don’t have to do this alone.

Zumba

A dance style which has proved popular all over the world, Zumba can help older people feel active, aid their health and also offer a way to meet likeminded people. After a workout, they can relax in their home rise and recliner chair knowing they’ve done some exercise for the day.